By Dave Pehling
ALBANY (CBS SF) — LA-based noise-punk duo Qui bring their fractured sounds to the East Bay Friday night when they play the Ivy Room with local band Frisco, who are celebrating the release of their debut album Love Songs for Phantom Limbs, and opening power trio Terry Gross.
Over the course of nearly two decades since coming together in 2000, drummer/vocalist Paul Christensen and guitarist/vocalist Matt Cronk have honed their uniquely unhinged style of left-field punk. Having first become friends while attending a Minneapolis school for the arts during their teens, the pair relocated to Los Angeles and started developing songs while playing underground LA clubs. Qui issued their debut album Baby Kisses in 2003, showcasing Christensen’s propulsive, off-kilter rhythms and Cronk’s jagged guitar style. Their music nodded to such abrasive forebears as Steve Albini’s Shellac and the Jesus Lizard as well as pioneering SoCal rock mavericks like Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart.
Within a few years. the duo had established themselves on the LA scene. They befriended ex-Scratch Acid and the Jesus Lizard singer and fellow LA resident David Yow, who would join the band on tour and contribute vocals to their 2007 album Love’s Miracle that was released on singer Mike Patton’s Ipecac Recordings. The partnership would last for several years, but Qui would go on an extended hiatus in 2009 when Yow and the Jesus Lizard reunited for the band’s first extensive tour since splitting up a decade earlier.
Christensen would spend time exploring other music with his bands Help and the eclectic roots-meets-bossa-nova duo Paulene, but the pair would reconvene in 2011 to make new music on their own, eventually recording with Melvins drummer Dale Crover and his production partner Toshi Kasai and releasing Life, Water, Living… the following year. The effort revealed a new focus on vocal harmonies and warped pop hooks to go along with their signature hectic noise-punk. The band has remained prolific ever since, issuing a string of albums, EPs and singles — along with some seriously twisted, dark-humored videos — for a variety of labels, including a collaborative album with virtuoso bassist Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, John Zorn, Melvins Lite) and a 10-inch limited vinyl for Bay Area imprint Valley King Records in 2017.
For this show put on by Bay Area promoter Talent Moat, Qui will be joined by not one but two fellow Valley King outfits: Frisco and Terry Gross. The latest band project of a local crew of punk and metal veterans including singer Bob McDonald and guitarist Andy Oglesby of sadly defunct SF post-punk outfit Hank IV, ex-Acid King/Altamont drummer Joey Osbourne and former Lost Goat guitarist Eric Peterson (bassist Jason Ricci rounds out the quintet), Frisco first came together in 2017.
Taking a decidedly different direction than one might expect of a band featuring a pair of heavyweight stoner-metal players, Frisco explores a hard-swinging style of knotty noise punk topped by McDonald’s tuneful, manic vocals that split the difference between PiL-era John Lydon and the lurching unpredictability of the aforementioned Yow. The band plays tunes from its anticipated debut album Love Songs for Phantom Limbs at this record release celebration.
Opening SF trio Terry Gross features the six-string heroics of established local guitarist Phil Manley (Trans Am, the F–king Champs, Life Coach) backed by bass player Donny Newenhouse (Film School, Hot Fog, Buffalo Tooth) and drummer Phil Becker (Pins of Light, ex-Triclops! and Lower Forty-Eight). Contrary to what you might expect from a band named after the unflappably calm NPR interviewer, the trio bashes out a kinetic, krautrock-influenced grooves displayed on their Shameless Imposter EP, a two-song 10″ vinyl disc also released on Valley King.
Qui with Frisco and Terry Gross
Friday, March 1, 8:30 p.m. $8-$10
The Ivy Room